Actual Proof

MIKE CLARK: Actual Proof (Platform)Mike Clark, best known for his work in the 70's with Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, just released his debut solo album, Actual Proof. The album covers a lot of musical ground, ranging from downbeat jazz to deep funk. Clark gets things into a serious groove right off the bat with "Stingers," thanks to guitarist Charlie Hunter. "The Grinder" slows things down a bit, but sax man Jed Levy keeps the groove going and Tim Ouimette lays down a great trumpet solo on the cut too. The first really outstanding moment comes on the brooding "Aristide." The song begins innocently enough with Ted Trimble's acoustic bass solo. As the keyboards float in slowly over the top, Bennie Maupin comes in with a progressive sounding tenor solo and Clark follows close behind with a sublime workout on the drum kit.

Actual Proof wanders into the avant-garde realm a bit also, as heard on "The Viper" and the middle section of "Attack of the 40Ft. Woman." "59th Street Station" is an homage to the subterranean caverns of the New York subway system. This dark, slow groove features Maupin again (this time on bass clarinet) and an amazing solo from Trimble. "Bacon Phat" features the fretwork of Hunter and a groove that just dares you to ignore it. With his new (and long awaited) CD, Clark proves once again that he is truly a force to be reckoned with in the jazz/funk arena.

© 2000 Steve Marshall

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